Briefs: Design Hotels taps Marriott engines; Sheraton refreshes in Canada

Design Hotels taps Marriott engines: Design Hotels, Berlin, is launching a new Affiliation Model this summer, which will fully connect member hotels to its parent company Marriott International’s distribution and loyalty programs. The 300-plus Design Hotel member properties will still receive the sales and marketing services currently offered by Design Hotels.

Villa Belinzaghi returns to Villa d’Este: Italy-based Villa d’Este Hotels has acquired Villa Belinzaghi, a private home on Lake Como. Surrounded by two acres of grounds, which includes a pier and dock, the three-story building will be refurbished over the next two years to enhance the villa’s historic elements while incorporating modern amenities. Villa d’Este owned the property until 1927 when it was sold. The private property is expected to be used by the new owner for exclusive-use stays, weddings and events.

Field of Dreams expansion plans: Go the Distance Baseball, the owner of Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa, is planning an US$80 million investment into the movie site, including a 104-key boutique hotel, nine new ballfields, an outdoor concert amphitheatre, construction of team dormitories, a 100,000-square-foot fieldhouse, recreational vehicle park, and a park and jogging trails. The hotel is slated to be completed by the end of 2023. Once completed, the ballfields are expected to host 1,000 youth teams annually. To complete the expansion, 100 acres more will be added to the existing 190-acre site.

Sheraton refreshes in Canada: Marriott International continues to report progress on its long-standing ambition to reinvigorate its legacy Sheraton Hotels & Resorts brand, debuting modernization efforts at three flagship properties in Canada, including the US$30 million renovation of the 484-room Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport; the most extensive renovation in the 50-year history of the 1,372-room Sheraton Centre Toronto Hotel; and the newly renovated 825-room Le Centre Sheraton Montreal Hotel. Marriott also reported nearly 50 more Sheraton refreshes are expected to be completed by year’s end. The focus of these renovations is on creating “community hub” environments with greater emphasis on experiences in spaces that allow for more connectivity, productivity, and connection to the local community through, among other things, seamless technology integration and an elevated food and beverage philosophy. Sheraton has nearly 20 hotels in Canada with six slated for transformation completion by end of 2023.

Honolulu Council approves short-term rental restrictions: The Honolulu City Council has approved a measure to ban short-term vacation rentals outside of resort areas. The hotly-discussed Bill 41, which is supported by the hotel industry, bans any rentals in residential areas for less than 90 days. Currently, it is at 30 days. Short-term rentals can only be allowed in resort and nearby areas in Waikiki, near Ko Olina and Turtle Bay. The bill also seeks to increase enforcement on illegal operators. The bill was introduced to check the number of illegal vacation rentals in areas like Kailua that are not meant for tourism but have become hot spots for travelers. The short duration of vacation rentals is reportedly taking away housing opportunities and hampering locals’ peace of mind. The measure awaits the mayor’s signature.

Mission Hill acquires in California: Mission Hill Hospitality, Denver, Colorado, has acquired the Homewood Suites by Hilton Cathedral City Palm Springs in Cathedral City, California, at an undisclosed price. This is the group’s 19th acquisition since it was launched in March 2021. Built in 2017, the hotel features 197 suites, more than 1,100 sq. ft. in event space across two meeting rooms, a heated outdoor pool, and a fitness center.

US performance improves: Hotel performance in the U.S. increased from the previous week, as per STR data through April 9.

  • Occupancy: 66.4% (-4.7%)
  • ADR: US$150.45 (+10.6%)
  • RevPAR: US$99.93 (+5.4%)

Among the Top 25 Markets, Tampa recorded the highest occupancy increase over 2019 (+6.2% to 84%), while Minneapolis saw the largest occupancy decrease from 2019 (-29.5% to 51.4%). Miami witnessed the largest ADR increase over 2019 (+49.6% to US$328.35). The steepest RevPAR deficits were in San Francisco/San Mateo (-51.9% to US$121.19) and Minneapolis (-44.8% to US$60.25).

Pipeline activity rises in Americas, Asia Pac: Hotel pipeline in the Americas and Asia Pacific saw a YOY increase at the end of Q1, as per March data from STR. In the Americas region, the U.S. has the most number of rooms under construction. This is followed by Mexico (14,317) and Brazil (7,080).

  • In construction: 207,018 rooms (-14%)
  • Final planning: 209,353 rooms (-17.7%)
  • Planning: 346,277 rooms (+30.3%)
  • Total under contract: 762,648 (+0.3%)

In the Asia-Pacific region, China has the most number of rooms in construction (301,879), followed by Vietnam (32,804).

  • In construction: 482,689 rooms (+4.3%)
  • Final planning: 147,854 rooms (-19.3%)
  • Planning: 315,956 rooms (+16.9%)
  • Total under contract: 946,499 rooms (+3.3%)

In Europe, Germany (42,712) and the U.K. (31,796) led the region in total rooms under construction.

  • In construction: 226,597 rooms (-12.2%)
  • Final planning: 158,057 rooms (-12.7%)
  • Planning: 164,690 rooms (+5.8%)
  • Total under contract: 549,344 (-7.7%)

Saudi Arabia (38,181) and United Arab Emirates (30,367) led in construction activity in the Middle East & Africa region.

  • In construction: 126,860 rooms (-10.6%)
  • Final planning: 37,830 rooms (-17.2%)
  • Planning: 69,398 rooms (+29.6%)
  • Total under contract: 234,088 (-2.9%)

No large-scale sale of Dutch hotels: There have no large-scale sale of Dutch hotels due to COVID-19 with only 44 hotels being sold in 2021 for €326 million (US$353.68 million), according to The Dutch market for hotel investments report by Colliers. This was the lowest transaction volume in years, with the record sale (€1.75 billion/US$1.89 billion) taking place in 2019. Besides the lack of supply, there was also low investment volume in 2021. A total of 2,399 rooms were sold, an average of 55 rooms per hotel, which was less than the average of 107 rooms in 2019 and 73 in 2020. Fewer hotels sold in big cities, where most of the expensive and biggest hotels are located. The sale of The Albus Hotel on Vijzelstraat was the largest transaction, for around €25 million (US$27.12 million). Investment in the Netherlands is still lagging compared to the rest of Europe. While €16.9 billion (US$18.33 billion) was invested in hotels across Europe in 2021, this was 39% less than in 2019, and up by more than €5 billion (US$5.42 billion) compared to 2020. The Netherlands, however, fell short 81% last year compared to 2019. Colliers expects more transactions this year. The recovery of the investment market, however, depends on the development of the war in Ukraine.

Accor, Fever partnership: Accor is adding new experiences to ALL-Accor Live Limitless, its loyalty program, in partnership with Fever, the live-entertainment discovery platform. The new service will initially be available in 50 gateway cities and later be extended to 100 destinations worldwide. The service will allow members to access 1,500 activities like live entertainment, cultural events, local tourism and ticketing solutions.

US travelers keen on sustainable travel: Consumer interest around traveling sustainably saw an uptick, with 61% of travelers in the U.S. expressing their desire to travel more sustainably over the next year, revealed the latest Sustainable Travel Report 2022 by This is a 15% increase from the company’s 2021 data. Around 73% of U.S. travelers said sustainable travel was more important to them, with 44% saying that recent news reports about climate change influenced them into making more sustainable travel choices. About 57% of American travelers said they would leave the places they visited better than when they had arrived, with 25% saying they chose to travel outside of the peak travel season to avoid overcrowding. About 23% said they chose to travel to a destination closer to home in the past 12 months to reduce their carbon footprint, with 14% stating that they researched public transport and/or options to rent a bicycle in their destination. Over 100,000 properties worldwide are now being recognized for their sustainability efforts with Travel Sustainability badge on the booking platform.

Salamander Hotels & Resorts to manage Anguilla resort: Entrepreneur Richard Schulze has selected Salamander Hotels & Resorts to manage Aurora Anguilla Resort & Golf Club in Rendezvous Bay, British West Indies. Schulze acquired the property in 2020 and it has since undergone a renovation. The 178-suite resort features seven restaurants and lounges, a 27,000-square-foot spa and 18-hole golf club which was recently redesigned by Greg Norman. A nine-hole short course, another Greg Norman Signature design, will open this summer. There are also plans to introduce an entertainment center with waterpark which will include a 500-seat amphitheater for live entertainment and courts for sports.